Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Breastfeeding Tips for New Momma's Part 2: Moms Love Mombo

This post brought to you by Comfort and Harmony. All opinions are 100% mine.
I recently shared Breastfeeding Tips for New Momma's  with you and today I want to introduce you to the best nursing pillow for infants from Comfort & Harmony, the Mombo.  Mom's love Mombo, the nursing pillow with more to love!
I'm wishing that I had a Mombo while nursing Middle and Little Sis.  Mombo has a unique shape and the two sides of the pillow offer two different experiences.  One side is firm, giving Mom and baby the support needed to aid in breastfeeding and the other is soft and cozy, perfect for the baby to lounge on or have some tummy time.  I'm loving the little tabs on this peticuliar pillow, perfect for baby to play with.  There are many cute and fun slipcovers to choose for your pillow shown here: mombo nursing pillow.

 I remember vivdly that Little Sis loved to be in her bouncy seat because of the vibration it offered her, so here is the best part of the Mombo Nursing Pillow, it is the only nursing pillow that VIBRATES!  The optional vibration helps soothe baby. Use the vibration anytime throughout the day or at bedtime.  Little Sis would have LOVED this nursing pillow!  The Mombo is designed with special side curves to create a custom fit for Mom’s elbows and armchair.

Like Comfort & Harmony on Facebook to see pictures and their other products.  Or follow Comfort & Harmony on Twitter to stay up to date.  Want to get a Mombo for yourself?  Visit your nearest Toys R Us or Babes R Us, or of course you can shop online.
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Foodie Bloggers: Win a trip to BlogHer Food '13

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian. All opinions are 100% mine.
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Are you a Blogger who loves to share your recipes?  Do you enjoy cooking healthy and delicious meals for your family and friends like I do?  Then you need to head over to Pompeian’s Time to Change Your Oil contest.  Pompeian Olive Oil and Hungry Girl are challenging bloggers to change a favorite recipe by replacing butter or vegetable oil with Pompeian's grapeseed oil or their OlivExtra Premium Mediterranean Blend.
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I love to cook with olive oil,  but the downfall has been the fact that it has a high smoke point.  That's why I'm going to give Pompeian grapeseed oil a try,  it has similiar health benefits as olive oil so why not?
If you would love to attend BlogHer Food '13 like me, then share a recipe on your blog that you have exchanged the butter or oil with Pompeian's Grapeseed Oil or OlivExtra Premium Medirerranean Blend.  Be sure to have a great picture of your dish  and then you must submit it to Pompeian’s Time to Change Your Oil's app on Facebook.  Just for entering, they will send you a voucher for a free bottle of Pompeian oil.  
The winner will be selected by Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien, and receive an expense paid trip to BlogHer Food '13 in Austin, TX June 7-8.  Plus your winning recipe will be featured at the event!
Here is a super yummy Beef Stir Fry recipe for you to give their product a try:
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I've not been to a blog conference yet, but would love this free opportunity to meet other bloggers and learn from the great speakers!  Tell me, why would you want to win?
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Potty Training in Our Happy House: Older Children

Today we welcome guest blogger Valerie from Momma in Progress who is sharing her Potty Training struggles, story and tips.  

In my pre-parenting fantasy of things that were never going to happen, having a three-year-old in diapers was pretty high on the list. And no way on God's green earth was I going to have a four-year-old who had yet to master the toilet.

Yet I did. And we both lived to tell about it.

Because I had easy success with potty training (I hate that term, but I still use it) our first child (Agent E) at age 2.5, I figured surely the second kid (Agent J), also a girl, who watched her big sister (and mother) use the toilet appropriately since before she could walk, would be even simpler, right?

Uh, not so much.

We first "tried" at age 2.5. But J didn't want to stop playing and sit down. J couldn't care less about being in a wet or soiled diaper. J had things to do, and I was messing with her agenda.

So, we backed off until after she turned three. Certainly the potty learning process would be more appealing to her now.

Wrong again.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, we tried that. And that. And that, too.

To Agent J, it made no difference whether we used cloth diapers, disposable diapers, pull-ups, underwear, or naked time. We tried shadowing her, having her sit on the potty predictable times each day, leaving a potty in whatever room she was playing in, letting her sit there for as little or as long as she wanted . . . even using a reward system, which we never did for anything else. (This did not impress her, by the way.)

So we put the whole process on hold. Again.

Then 3.5 came and went and Momma started getting a little twitchy. Most people we know had no idea she was still in diapers; they just assumed based on her age that she passed that hurdle. We already decided not to send her to preschool since we were homeschooling Agent E, but we couldn't have even if we wanted to, as being out of diapers was required.

I resigned to the fact that maybe she would just have to train herself. Perhaps she would magically decide one day that enough was enough and give it a completely self-motivated try.

This did not happen.

About a week before her fourth birthday we decided to plunge into the idea of diaper-free Julia once again. We had recently shipped most of our household goods (including all of our rugs) and so we were down to tile floors and minimal stuff. We were preparing to leave Italy in a few weeks and dreaded the thought of returning to the states with no progress. And quite honestly Momma was over the two in diapers thing. (E and J overlapped for 10 months; J and our third baby, Agent A, were going on 18 months at that point.)

We developed a plan: No diapers during the day (only at bedtime). Potty stays out in the family room or whatever room she's spending the most time in. Potty breaks at regular (we chose two-hour) intervals. Special Princess Underwear if she peed in the potty; plain boring underwear following accidents. Lots of positive reinforcement, praise, and rewards. (No; I don't think those things are evil, and even though prizes as motivation hadn't always worked in the past, we were a tad desperate.) 

The first day we only had one success, and day two we had zero. But . . . by day four we had more successes than misses and she realized she had to go even if it wasn't a designated "time." By day seven we could see the light, so to speak. We knew there would be no "let's give up, this is not working" this time. We were well on our way to having another Agent out of diapers.

There was nothing really magical about this plan; in fact, these were all very similar tactics from previous failed attempts. However, this time, it worked! Not right away, but we stuck with it and made steady progress over the next few weeks.Why now? Was she was simply doing things on her own timeline, and her "readiness" (whatever that is) just happened to correspond to my desperation? Perhaps. Maybe no matter what I did (or did not do) Agent J still would have been one of the 2% of children (if you believe statistics) who don't master independent toilet skills until after their fourth birthday.

Honestly, though, I believe it was the combination of her being "ready" and me taking it seriously. I think I had been too wishy-washy and too willing to give up too quickly when things hadn't gone well in the past. I became overwhelmed with Agent A's toddler-ness, and I wasn't focused on helping her the way I had been with Agent E. And she needed my help. Julia might not have been independently "motivated" for another year. She needed a little coaxing. She needed this to be a team effort. She needed me to take charge a bit. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

She was almost 4.5 by the time we were completely confident that we were "done" with the training part, had stopped night time diapers, and had stopped worrying about having extra clothes/towels constantly with us at our disposal. She turns five next week, so that was only about 6-7 months ago. And it already seems like a distant memory.

What I learned: Don't wait for a "good" time, because there may never be one. I'd been warned not to start too early or too close to a major event. She showed signs of interest just before Agent A was born (at just shy of 2.5) and I ignored them, because no one in their right mind starts potty training their toddler when they're 36 weeks pregnant, right? Looking back, I should have just ran with it then.

What did not help: Listening to stories about how other parents trained their kids by [insert random age here]. Ridiculous commenting threads that always have that one troll who "doesn't understand" how anyone could "let" this happen. People who suggested I should have used EC from the beginning because it worked so well for them. (Um, I'll let you know when I get that time machine up and running.) Books and articles that implied I would cause psychological damage by putting a little verbal "big girl" pressure on her. Mothers of older children making condescending statements how they wished they were in the potty days again. Anyone who voiced a tired version of, "don't worry, it will happen," "she won't go to college in diapers," or "she will learn when she is ready." 

Because when it's you, and you're on diaper duty 10-12 times a day between two kids, and you're washing cloth diapers every 48 hours, and you've had to change a child standing up in the bathroom stall one too many times because no changing table in the world is designed for a kid that big, and all of your friends' kids the same age have been out of diapers for over a year, you don't really give a flying chipmunk about such drivel. You are just. so. over. it.

What I will do differently with Agent AWe have had a potty chair out at our new house since we moved in ten months ago, and just this week Agent A has started using it. When I see him taking an interest, I encourage it. Of course, we have a ways to go . . . I don't expect quick results, and if nothing happens I'm not going to stress. But, I'm going to see where his obvious curiosity leads. And if need be, nudge him in that direction.

Did you potty train an "older" child? What worked for you? What kind of (good or bad) advice did you hear?

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.  Valerie is a Navy wife and homeschooling Momma to three Secret Agents. She loves coffee, chocolate, and all things Disney. Find her blogging about her parenting and child-led education adventures at Momma in Progress and connect with her on Facebook.

Thank you Valerie for sharing your struggles with us, I'm sure there are many that can relate! I would LOVE to share your Potty Training Stories and Tips.  You can email me at Lindsey@Happyhouseof5.com today.  

You can catch up on the other posts in the series here:

Potty Training in Our Happy House: It's a Stage by The Koala Bear Writer 
Potty Training in Our Happy House: When ready doesn't come by Spectrum of Blessings
Potty Training in Our Happy House: Training by Personality Type from Naps and Roadmaps

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Child Training Bible Review/Giveaway

You shall teach them diligently to your children, 
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, 
and when you walk by the way, 
and when you lie down, 
and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:7 
I recently was given the opportunity to review The Child Training Bible and I'm excited to be offering a giveaway for the chart set needed to make your very own.  What exactly is The Child Training Bible?  Here's a brief description from their website:
"The Child Training Bible is tool that allows parents and children (and anyone that loves the Word of God) to go directly to the pages of Scripture for instruction in 20 key areas with a complete section dedicated to the gospel. "

When your child is struggling with anger, defiance and fear (to name a few) you can turn to your bible for scriptures and pray using the scriptures and prayers provided.  I really enjoyed going through the bible and highlighting, I'm nowhere near a bible expert and found it very educational to read each that I was highlighting.  The big girls also helped me and loved to help me make it!  
The supplies you will need are a 9x6 inch bible, matching highlighters and Post-it flags, all which can be found on Amazon.  I bought THIS bible from Amazon and if you page down and see what items are frequently bought together, you'll also find the Post-it Tabs and highlighters that match.

This is a picture of the chart set that you could win.  It includes instructions on how to make the training bible.  
The directions are explained well and they also have a video tutorial here:
I'm very excited to have this wonderful resource to turn to when we are dealing with some of our children's behavior challenges, because we all know how challenging they can be at times.  
Enter below by following the directions on the Rafflecoptor widget:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY: Homemade Stain Fighting Laundry Detergent

Today I'm showing you how I'm saving approximately $38.00 a year in homemade laundry detergent.  If something is easy enough for me to do by myself, saves me a little bit of money and saves on the environment (reusing a storage container rather than purchasing containers every time) then I'm all for it. 
About six months ago I made a liquid laundry detergent that I found through Pinterest.  It worked great but there was a few things that I wasn't happy about.  First when you make the concentrate you need milk containers to mix it with water, I either had to save all of our milk containers or ask neighbors to save theirs for me.  Second, adding the water to each wasn't a fun or easy task.  Third, you need storage room for about 10-12 milk containers when you're finished but the worst part was that with time the containers started leaking the liquid all over my laundry room!  It was then that I decided to give the powder detergent a try.  
I've scoured the internet and Pinterest for recipes.  We have allergies and asthma in our family and we've never been big fans of real strong scented detergents.  I also wanted to be sure that the detergent would be safe for our HE machine.  I read in our machine manual that you could add powder just the same as liquid detergent.  
Another important aspect was stain fighting power!  The liquid detergent I made before worked well but there were stains that required a shot of Oxyclean stain remover.  That's why I've added the Oxiclean powder to the recipe.  So here's how you make it:
Start by grating two bars of Fels-Naptha soap.  
{You can find all of these items in your local grocery store's cleaning/laundry aisles}
I used a fine grater rather than a normal sized shredder.  After shredding the soap you simply mix all of the ingredients together.  I used a 5 gallon bucket to mix, adding small amounts of each at a time, layering the ingredients to make mixing it easier.  
I bought a Rubbermaid storage container from Target to store the powder.  You'll need an airtight container for best results.  
I used to buy a large container of Tide at Sam's Club.  The Tide was costing us 21¢ a load and this homemade version is only 12¢ a load.  Less waste and saving money...yes please!
Tell me, do you make any homemade cleaners?  How else does your family save money?
See where I link up HERE.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Potty Training in Our Happy House: Training by Personality Type

Please welcome today's guest blogger Gianina from Naps and Roadmaps, as she shares "Potty Training by Personality Type".
Before I start espousing "wisdom" about potty training, let me just say that as I write this, my two-year old is on a pooping strike and I am at my wit's end. This is particularly frustrating to me a holistic family physician, because I dish advice about this crap (pun intended) all the time. What I've learned, is that being in the trenches with your fellow parents is often the best place to be. Sometimes commiseration is more valuable than advice with some degree attached to it. I happen to be both, a professional and a parent at the end of her potty training rope.
I have never been a big fan of the one-size-fits-all approach. I'm a holistic person at my core and so when it came to potty training my first-born, I was instantly frustrated by what seems like a "Do this and this will happen" approach to potty training. After once again questioning my own ability to parent effectively, my training kicked in. I realized that my daughter, according to Chinese Medical Theory (my area of training), is a "Water type." Basically this makes her one of the hardest personality types to train. Once I considered what her challenges and motivating factors were, I went to work with a whole new approach and a much better attitude.
The star in the center simply shows how all elements are connected and has no other meaning whatsoever.

I'd like to share my personality type approach to potty training in the hope that it will help you identify the personality type of your own child and in doing so, a more holistic and targeted approach to take for your unique child. Over 2,00 years ago, the Chinese based their medical theory on the patterns of nature and how different people responded to their environments. In Chinese Medicine, we categorize people into 5 basic types, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. There are many variations under these sub headings, but for these purposes we can keep it simple. Today, we might identify these types as Impulse-Driven, Sensory-Oriented, Goal-Directed, Internalizing and Strong-Willed personality types. I encourage you to read about all 5 types as most people fit into at least two categories. As such, you may find it useful to employ strategies and tips from two or more personality types.
FIRE CHILD (Impulse-driven)
Identifying Characteristics:
  • excitable
  • energetic
  • life of the party (class/playgroup)
  • charming
  • exhausting
  • into everything
  • easily distracted
  • risk taker
  • physically capable
  • outgoing
  • pleasure seeker
  • dreamer
  • emotionally unpredictable
  • endless energy, then crashes
  • why baby-proofing was invented
  • rarely sits still
  • rough and tumble
  • never upset long
  • happy
  • lives in the moment
Potty Training Challenges:
  • hard to keep them interested in potty training
  • they don't like to sit still
  • they have trouble waiting on the potty for the body to "go"
  • tend to not feel challenged by potty training as an activity
  • don't like to stop what they are doing to go to the potty
  • may have accidents because they don't want to stop what they are doing to go
  • set a routine based on their elimination schedule and follow it consistently
  • call attention to your toilet habits and show them what you do
  • explain that using the potty must come before play (Ex: we go to the potty then we can go to the playground)
  • don't ask if they have to go, tell them when it is time
  • treat using the potty as a non-negotiable like bedtime and brushing teeth
  • have several potty chairs so you can catch them in the act and get them back to their "activity" faster
  • be prepared to watch their habits and signs of needing to go by following and watching them closely
  • allow naked time to help create awareness for them
EARTH CHILD (Sensory-Oriented)
Identifying Characteristics:
  • people-pleaser
  • helpful
  • very social
  • reliable
  • social butterfly
  • good eater/sweet tooth
  • sensitive to their environment
  • worrier
  • accommodating
  • seeks comfort
  • busy body
  • peacemaker
  • caregiver
  • clingy
  • legalistic
  • easily disappointed
  • friendly
  • teacher's pet
  • emotionally sensitive
  • kind-hearted
Potty Training Challenges:
  • child may need their fears about the process and the physical sensations addressed and reassured over and over
  • may get stuck on one part of the process such as flushing the toilet, pooping or wiping due to fear, worry or a dislike of the sensation
  • because they are motivated to please you, your reaction to accidents can make or break the process
  • even neutral reactions to accidents can cause setbacks as the child may be worried they have let you down or that you will be disappointed or angry
  • encouragement or direction that feels pushy can cause them to overload on worry and create setbacks, or "holding it," which can cause constipation issues or upset tummies
  • ease in and don't push as readiness is most critical with this type
  • verbally address every possible concern
  • stay empathetic, especially during accidents
  • let them explore the process and the "tools" in their own way in their own timing
  • do not build it up as a big deal, make it seem commonplace and normal to reduce the pressure
  • model the correct toilet behavior and habits in front of them
  • allow "dress rehearsals" (with clothes if need be) to inspire confidence
  • describe all sensations so they are expected and seem normal
  • give plenty of praise for attempts as well as success
  • do not compare them to other children and especially not to other siblings
  • treat accidents like they are no big deal
METAL CHILD (Goal-directed)
Identifying Characteristics:
  • perfectionist
  • rule follower
  • sees things in black and white
  • inflexible
  • rigid
  • orderly
  • high standards
  • truth seeker
  • disciplined
  • even-tempered
  • organized
  • efficient
  • likes order and control
  • can be detached
  • not easily ruffled
  • light to be right
  • high principles
  • single-minded
  • neat
  • focused
Potty Training Challenges:
  • these kids have excellent focus, but the object is always of their choosing
  • when potty training becomes their focus they can be very easy to train (these are the "potty trained in 1 day" kids)
  • due to their motivation to please their parents, the wrong reaction to accidents can cause a major setback (think weeks or more)
  • waiting until they are ready is absolutely necessary or it will be an exhausting fight
  • patience on your part is paramount
  • avoid power struggles, you can't force them
  • capitalize on their desire to accomplish tasks by getting them interested in making this one of their chosen goals
  • explain all the steps and what is expected
  • no amount of detail is too much
  • have them practice each step
  • cater to their curiosities
  • a temporary reward system (no more than 3 days) may work, but can also backfire by turning into a bidding war
  • no amount of verbal praise is too much
  • these kids thrive on a schedule so keep a very consistent routine until they set one for themselves
WATER CHILD (Internalizing)
Identifying Characteristics:
  • sensible
  • cautious
  • watchful
  • modest
  • careful
  • curious
  • serious
  • phobic
  • fussy
  • shy
  • clever
  • self-sufficient
  • solitary
  • thoughtful
  • pensive
  • stubborn
  • uncompromising
  • prudent
  • perceptive
  • adapt slowly
Potty Training Challenges:
  • child will need to evaluate everything many times before considering trying the potty, so give them time.
  • they must feel comfortable and safe before attempting new things
  • may need to see both parents and several friends do it before trying it themselves
  • may put up a fight over fear not disobedience
  • may want to wear a diaper sometimes even after some success on the potty, which may help their process
  • may not admit it when they need to go or have had an accident
  • peeing and pooping are totally separate hurdles so take them one at a time
  • extreme fear or resistance is a sign that more time and explanation is needed
  • you may need to take a few weeks off between attempts and major setbacks
  • you can not, under any circumstances, force them
  • allow observation of both parents before you officially start the training process
  • take an honest look at yourself and your ability to show your child a lot of patience
  • provide repeated and exhaustive explanations of the process and how it works, not why they must do it
  • change all diapers from now on in the bathroom to get them comfortable in there
  • dump poop from their diapers into the toilet and explain that this is where it goes
  • encourage small steps like hand washing in the bathroom and flushing the toilet for mom or dad
  • control your reactions to accidents and keep your response kind and neutral
  • put your goals, comparisons and expectations to rest and accept your child and their pace as unique
WOOD CHILD (Goal-directed)
Identifying Characteristics:
  • decisive
  • assertive
  • A-type
  • motivated
  • resourceful
  • cunning
  • independent
  • explorer
  • hard worker
  • leader
  • self-confident
  • ambitious
  • inflexible
  • optimistic
  • hot-tempered
  • problem solver
  • stubborn
  • easily frustrated
  • moody
  • always busy
Potty Training Challenges:
  • these kids want to control everything and everyone
  • forcing your timing and your methods may cause World War 3
  • their confidence is based on achievements, so accidents can cause setbacks due to upset and perceived failure
  • biggest challenge is "selling" the idea of potty training to them
  • potty training needs to seem like their idea and not your agenda
  • you can not force them to do it if they don't want to
  • help them understand that accidents do not mean they have failed
  • keep your reactions to accidents neutral and do not condemn
  • trying to teach a lesson during an emotional thunderstorm is pointless
  • if you can get these kids interested in potty training, they may do it all themselves
  • set goals they can understand and easily achieve to build confidence
  • make them think they are in control of the process by letting them tell you when they need to go or choosing their own potty chair/seat
  • rewards aren't needed since achieving the goal is their prize
  • do not cater to or cave under emotional outbursts, hit pause and start again later
  • be ready to be as resolved and determined as they are (this may mean middle of the night potty trips and lots of stops while out and about)
  • avoid power struggles
  • don't try to break them, your goal is to motivate them
  • be ready for them to tell you they are done with diapers and only want underwear before you've even thought about starting potty training
Final Thoughts
  1. Be aware of your own personality and don't try to potty train your child they way you were trained or the way that is most appealing to your personality type. Adjust to their style.
  2. Take the readiness signs seriously. Starting before they are ready is frustrating for you, upsetting for them and makes the whole process longer.
  3. Be prepared to start over a few times.
  4. Do a gut check about how you and your spouse, partner or other caregiver respond to accidents and disappointments. Make sure you get overreactions in check. There will be accidents and your reaction tells your child a lot about how you feel about their progress.
  5. Be honest about why you want to potty train now. Is your child ready or is everyone else you know doing it? Comparison is never a good reason to start.
By the time I finished crafting this post (whew!), our daughter has given up the poop strike and we are accident free for the last several days. She is even making it through most nights dry! This is a relief you can't imagine (or maybe you can) after months and months of temper tantrums, power struggles, do overs, start overs, set backs and accidents. My point? Potty training is a process. No matter which kind of child you have, be ready to let them grow, mature, fail and succeed in their own time. No one ever went to college in a diaper and our children's college days will come far sooner than any of us will like. Teaching your children that you love them just as they are will provide more than a pleasant potty training experience, it will make for a rewarding relationship that will last a lifetime.
Gianina Knoth, AP, LMT is a licensed and nationally board certified acupuncture physician, master of oriental medicine and licensed massage therapist specializing in family medicine. She has studied Fredudian, Jungian, Traditional Chinese Medical and Five Element Archetypal psychology on the graduate and post-gradual level. When she's not wrangling her munchkins, she can be found at her clinic, with her nose firmly buried in a book or counting the minutes until she has a minute with her better half.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Gianina, it was so interesting to read about the different personality types and compare them to each of my girls.  I would love to have YOU share your Potty Training story and tips, email me at Lindsey@Happyhouseof5.com today.

You can catch up on the other posts in the series here:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to survive The Stomach Flu {for kids}

Sorry I've been MIA most of this week but this post explains why....
This is a post that I would much rather not have had the opportunity to write!  This past weekend two of our three daughters came down with the stomach flu.  Sick kiddos are no fun but especially if it's the stomach bug :(   I thought I would share what we do to survive the stomach flu, hoping you don't need these tips but here they are just in case.  
When you have kids, they aren't always able to make it to the bathroom toilet so I always keep a box of grocery store bags in my pantry.  Another pantry staple are boxes of tissues.  I've kept these both in my girls beds this week in case they weren't able to make it to the bathroom in time.  Remind them to carry it with them whenever they get up...just in case!
For little kiddo's who aren't old enough to express when they are about to throw up, I will make a bed out of blankets covered with beach towels near me on the living room floor.  Stay close so you can try to help them make it to the trash can in time otherwise this is why its helpful to line the bed with beach towels.  I also line their crib with beach towels at bed time and keep a monitor on so you can carefully monitor their health during the night.
The hard part of this week has been keeping the two big girls confined to their rooms, keeping Little Sis happy downstairs and running back and forth to help them all.  
I have been a cleaning fool this week!  I'm all for green cleaning, I've even been making some homemade vinegar/water cleaning solutions lately but I was not going to take any chance with this nasty bug in my house!  I've been disinfecting all of the bathrooms, the kitchen and doing a TON of laundry too.  
As soon as your child is able to keep some fluids down they need to rehydrate with a drink containing electrolytes.  Gatorade is good but Pedialyte is best to replace what they've lost.  Be sure to refrigerate the bottle after opening.   
When they feel like they are up to eating again,  they need to have mild foods like chicken noodle soup and crackers.  I swear by the "BRAT Diet".  Brat stands for B-bananas, R-rice, A-applesauce and T-toast.  Don't push them to eat a normal diet for a few days, especially dairy.  

Trying to keep my girls happy and entertained is not easy when they don't feel well.  I try to get them to take naps but they also need something to help pass the time.  I surprised them with a couple of dvd's from the local Red Box.  Books, coloring, lego's and drawing also help my girls too.

{I am certainly not a Dr, but this is what I've found to work for our family}
This nasty bug took a toll on our family this week and we are still in recovery mode, prayers that you don't get it too!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Potty Training in Our Happy House: When "Ready" Doesn't Come

When “Ready” Doesn’t Come: Potty Training With a Side of Autism I’m a major bargain shopper, so when I saw an awesome sale on children’s clothing at our local Sears department store one afternoon, I stocked up big time. Luke was only nine months, but I bought an entire wardrobe all the way through size 2T – including (you guessed it) underwear, because certainly, we would be potty training by then. Looking back, I have to laugh at my presumption – at how much I took for granted back then. Instead, just as Luke was fitting in to those 2T sizes, we were learning that Luke had autism. I figured that potty training would just have to wait until Luke could speak and understand language, but by the time he was three-and-a-half, he was still only speaking a few single words, and his understanding was extremely limited. He also didn’t seem to mind being wet or dirty in the slightest.  I started to realize that for Luke, my idea of “ready” might never come. There aren’t many books for parenting special children. How would I ever make him understand the concept of toilet training when words failed? Like teaching most things to an autistic child, potty training is a total commitment. You approach it as a soldier prepares for battle. You stiffen your resolve, put on your battle armor, and send for reinforcements. My first step was to enlist the assistance of Luke’s therapists. They gave me a procedure to follow that went something like this:
Give Luke plenty of fluids.
Have him sit on the toilet every 15 minutes for 5 minute intervals (this gives him many opportunities per day to get it). Prior to taking him, make the sign language sign for “bathroom” and say the word “bathroom.” Prompt him to do the same.
If he goes, he may get up immediately. Praise him with great excitement and give him several rewards. (In Luke’s case this meant he received the iPad for five minutes and yogurt bites to eat). Reset the timer for another 15 minutes and start over.
If he doesn’t go reset the timer for another 15 minutes and start over.
If he has an accident, say “bathroom” while making the sign. Prompt him to do the same. Then have him sit on the toilet for a minute. Have him help clean the mess and change his clothes. Reset timer and start over.
Every three days Luke goes without an accident, increase the time between each potty break by five minutes until he is going every two hours on a schedule, or preferably using the bathroom as needed.
I can’t even begin to tell you how overwhelmed I was when I realized that I would be living my life (with two kids) in fifteen-minute intervals. Thankfully, Luke’s therapists helped me for a good portion of the day. I just had to keep it going between therapy sessions, in the evenings and on the weekends, and to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I really did adjust to taking life fifteen minutes at a time. After weeks of practically living in the bathroom (and plenty of tears on both our parts), Luke finally understood the concept of using the toilet, and even if he could only squeeze a few drops, he would go every time and receive his rewards. Once we had worked up to 25 minute intervals and I started making short trips outside of the house on outings where bathrooms were readily accessible. The first outings were a little awkward. I know that it must have been strange for the others to watch me run to the bathroom with Luke every time his timer went off, and it felt constant, but an advantage of autism parenting is that you get over what others think rather quickly. It is what it is. You just accept it and do what your child needs. It wasn’t long after this, however, that Luke started independently signing and requesting “baa-toom” when he had to go. Around this time, he also started to dislike feeling wet. We were able to discontinue the use of the procedure and just take him on demand. We also gradually faded out the use of rewards. Since then, there have been triumphs and setbacks. Learning to poop in the toilet took several months longer. I would dump the contents of his dirty underwear into the toilet and let him watch it flush so he understood where it was supposed to go. I also had to start making him sit longer at the time of day when he would usually go. Eventually, he did go, and after that first time (and an overload of praise and rewards), he improved rapidly. Another setback was that every few months Luke would suddenly start having accidents again. I can only attribute this to the fact that there were other things that were much more interesting than going to the bathroom. My response to this is to start making him sit on the toilet every hour whether he needs to go or not. Since he doesn’t appreciate the interruptions, he gets back with the program immediately. Today, at age six, there are still things we need to work on. Luke still needs to learn to wipe himself thoroughly (he does try), and he still wears a diaper overnight (although I’m convinced this is a problem for many boys – even typical ones). Also, in new places, I still need to insist that he go every couple of hours because he won’t go on his own if the bathroom isn’t familiar, but these are all very manageable and I expect he will continue to make progress in this area. So, dear parent, if you find yourself faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of potty training a special needs child, do not despair. It can be hard, and it takes time, but it is also very possible.
Joyce Rohe is the blogger at Spectrum of Blessings, where she writes about raising her Happy House of *Almost* 5 and being the Christian Mommy of an exceptional child. She was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum. In addition to her blog, you can find her on Facebook.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Joyce!! I would love to have YOU share your Potty Training story and tips, email me at Lindsey@Happyhouseof5.com today.

You can catch up on the other posts in the series here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spaghetti Pie

This week I had the pleasure of cooking a meal for a fellow Coast Guard family who just gave birth to their first bundle of joy.  I often bring dishes for fellow military, neighbor or church families and love to do it.  We were blessed with meals brought to us after we had our girls so I love to return the favor.  Here is one of the dishes I prepare for occasions like this.
Spaghetti Pie
Cook spaghetti and drain.  In a separate bowl mix 4 eggs and 2/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese, then add the mixture into the spaghetti stirring well.  
Sauté 1 cup of chopped onion in 1/4 cup of butter until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  
1.  Transfer the spaghetti/egg/cheese mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie plate to act as the crust of the pie.  
2.  Spoon the onion/butter/sour cream mixture on top of the spaghetti crust.  
3.  In a skillet cook the meat until no longer pink.  Stir in 2 cups of water and a 12 oz can of tomato paste.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Spoon over the sour cream mixture.
4.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  
Here's the best part of this recipe, it makes 3 pies!  That's right 3, one for your family and two to giveaway or freeze.  
To Freeze:  Cover tightly and freeze for up to one month.  Before cooking, thaw completely in the refrigerator and remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. 
To Bake:  Cover and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until warm and bubbly. 
When you're cooking for others remember to cook their dishes in disposable baking dishes so they don't have to take the time to return your dishes to you.  Add a fresh salad and a simple dessert like brownies,  and you will have a complete meal to bring to bless others!
Spaghetti Pie
1 lb spaghetti 
4 eggs beaten
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 butter
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
2 lb ground pork (you could also use ground beef or turkey)
2 cups water
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

Cook spaghetti and drain.  In a separate bowl mix 4 eggs and 2/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese, then add the mixture into the spaghetti stirring well.  Transfer the spaghetti/egg/cheese mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie plate to act as the crust of the pie.  Sauté 1 cup of chopped onion in 1/4 cup of butter until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  Spoon the onion/butter/sour cream mixture on top of the spaghetti crust.  In a skillet cook the pork until no longer pink.  Stir in 2 cups of water and a 12 oz can of tomato paste.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Spoon over the sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
To Freeze:  Cover tightly and freeze for up to one month.  Before cooking, thaw completely in the refrigerator and remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. 
To Bake:  Cover and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until warm and bubbly.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

DIY: Bling Flip Flops

Do you have daughters who love BLING?!  My girls were so excited when I opened Bling on a Roll and asked them what they would like me to "glamorize" for them.  Middle Sis couldn't wait to wear her new Bling Flip Flops!
You'll need:
Flip Flops
Bling on a Roll
Apply the glue onto the tops of the straps.  
Press the Bling onto the glue.
Overlap the two pieces of Bling at the center of the strap.
Apply glue in between to secure them together.  
Then trim any excess. 
Allow to sit overnight.
 Super easy to use and adds that special touch of sparkle to any of your projects!
Bling on a Roll comes in many widths and colors!
Another way to customize your crafts would be to use Gemz, you can cut it into any shape to add that special touch! 

Check out some more Gemz and Bling Projects here:

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